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Team of Occupational Therapists providing driver training

About Fitness To Drive

Meet our Team

Fitness To Drive provides specialized occupational therapy services for driver safety. Each member of our team cares about our mission of finding solutions for personal mobility. All of our driving instructors are licensed occupational therapists who have undergone extensive training to become Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialists. We have decades of experience working with individuals with physical disabilities, cognitive disabilities, and/or learning challenges.  We understand that personal mobility enables independence in our society and our goal is to help you find the best outcome for your situation.

Fitness to Drive staff of Occupational Therapists

Therapy Team

Terri Cassidy, OTD, OTR/L, CDRS

Kathryn Seibert, OTR/L, CDRS

Gabrielle Watkins, OTR/L, DRS

Tammi Gallegos, MS, OTR/L, CDRS

Amanda Olson, OTR/L, CDRS

Heather Ackart, MS, OTR/L, CDRS

Client Care Team

Kate Pettey, Office Manager

Mariah Yourkowski, Client Care Coordinator

Certified Specialist for Driver Rehabilitation
Road Trip

"Driving is more than just a way to get around. For many of us, driving represents independence." 

Dr. Terri Cassidy has been helping families and individuals make decisions about safe driving for over a decade. With her training as an occupational therapist and a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist she is able to apply her extensive experience, current research evidence, and genuine respect for her clients to help them find solutions to questions about driver safety and develop a plan for the future.

Terri is involved with driver safety at the local, state, and national levels. Her business has been featured on FOX21 News and KOAA and Denver News7. She has published two peer reviewed journal articles on driving and is a frequent guest lecturer for occupational therapy programs. Terri is the sole CarFit Instructor in the state of Colorado and Fitness to Drive supports CarFit events throughout the state. Terri’s programs have received grant funding through the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) since 2016. These funds support driver safety education to medical professionals and the community, including the publication of Colorado’s Guide to Aging Drivers and Their Families. In 2023 she expanded the CDOT grant to support Neurodivergent New Drivers and is currently working with her team to create workshops and resources for this population.

 

Driving can be key to enabling independence. We have driving clinics in Colorado Springs, Westminster, and Fort Collins.

Success stories of occupational therapy and driver training

The intersection of occupational therapy and driver training has led to numerous success stories, empowering individuals to achieve their driving goals and regain their independence. These success stories highlight the transformative impact of this collaborative approach in enabling individuals with disabilities to hit the road safely.

Driver education
One such success story involves a young woman with a spinal cord injury. Through occupational therapy and driver training, she learned to operate a modified vehicle using hand controls. With determination and support, she successfully obtained her driver's license and now enjoys the freedom to drive independently.

We combine the power of occupational therapy and driver training to transform lives and promote inclusive mobility for all individuals.

The Intersection of Occupational Therapy and Driver Training: Empowering Individuals to Hit the Road Safely

In today's fast-paced world, the ability to drive is often seen as a symbol of independence and freedom. However, getting behind the wheel can be daunting for individuals with physical, cognitive, or sensory impairments. This is where occupational therapy and driver training intersect, empowering individuals to hit the road safely and confidently.

Occupational therapy focuses on improving daily life skills and plays a crucial role in assessing an individual's fitness to drive. Working closely with clients, occupational therapists identify limitations or challenges that may impact their driving performance. They then develop personalized driver training interventions to address these issues. Occupational therapy driver rehabilitation specialists guide individuals through learning or relearning how to drive with an individualized approach. For some clients this involves training in the use of adapted vehicle controls.

 

Another benefit of an occupational therapy approach to driver training is guidance in decision making to balance personal mobility and safety of the individual and the community. Some of the clients we see realize that driving is not the best option for them at this time. Our comprehensive driver evaluation results and written report support objective decision making about driver safety.

 

Combining occupational therapy and driver training creates a comprehensive approach to helping individuals with medical conditions or disabilities achieve their driving goals and help all drivers make responsible driving decisions. Whether it's adapting vehicles, teaching compensatory strategies, or improving physical abilities, this collaborative effort is key to ensuring safer and more inclusive roads for everyone.

Addressing physical limitations in driver training

Physical limitations can significantly impact an individual's ability to operate a vehicle safely. Occupational therapists work closely with individuals to address these limitations and develop strategies to improve their physical abilities for driving.

In driver training, therapists focus on exercises and activities that target strengthening and improving the range of motion in the upper and lower extremities. They may also recommend specialized equipment or adaptations to assist individuals with physical disabilities, such as hand controls, pedal extensions, or steering wheel knobs.

Through therapeutic exercises, adaptive equipment, and practice on driving simulators, occupational therapists help individuals with physical limitations build the strength, endurance, and coordination required for safe driving.

Addressing visual limitations in driver training

Visual limitations, such as reduced visual acuity or visual field deficits, can significantly impact an individual's ability to drive safely. Occupational therapists play a vital role in assessing and addressing these visual limitations to ensure safe driving practices.

Therapists work closely with individuals to evaluate their visual abilities through specialized tests and assessments. They may recommend visual aids, such as bioptic telescopes or specialized lenses, to improve visual acuity or compensate for visual field deficits.

In driver training, occupational therapists focus on improving scanning techniques, visual tracking, and peripheral awareness. They teach individuals how to use their vision effectively while driving, ensuring that they can detect hazards, read road signs, and maintain situational awareness on the road.

Addressing cognitive limitations in driver training

Cognitive limitations, such as memory deficits, attention difficulties, or impaired decision-making skills, can pose significant challenges to safe driving. Occupational therapists specialize in assessing and addressing these cognitive limitations in the context of driver training.

Therapists use various techniques and strategies to help individuals with cognitive impairments develop compensatory skills and strategies. These may include memory aids, visual cues, and practice in real-life driving situations to enhance decision-making abilities.

Through medical record review and our comprehensive driver evaluation, we will assess the cognitive skills needed for driving and the potential for recovery of those skills. For some of our clients with progressive cognitive decline  we assist in the transition from driver to passenger.

Addressing psychological limitations in driver training

Psychological limitations, such as anxiety or fear related to driving, can significantly impact an individual's ability to get behind the wheel. Occupational therapists are skilled in addressing these psychological limitations and providing the necessary support to help individuals overcome their fears and anxieties.

Therapists use various techniques, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or exposure therapy, to help individuals manage their emotions and build confidence in their driving abilities. They create a safe and supportive environment where individuals can gradually face their fears and develop coping strategies to handle stressful driving situations.

By addressing psychological limitations in driver training, occupational therapists empower individuals to regain their independence and freedom on the road.

If you’d like more information about how Fitness To Drive helps with driver training, get in touch today.

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